2 Unclaimed $100,000 Lottery Prizes About to Expire

March 2, 2019 Updated: March 2, 2019

BOSTON—Two people who bought lottery tickets in Massachusetts nearly a year ago may be sitting on $100,000 and not even know it.

A lottery spokesman says two unclaimed $100,000 Mass Cash prizes won in drawings in March 2018, are nearing expiration.

One ticket bought at the Seekonk Stop & Shop for the March 9, 2018 drawing must be claimed by March 8.

The other ticket purchased at Friendly Farms in Framingham for the March 24, 2018 drawing, must be claimed by March 22.

Mass Cash prizes have to be redeemed within a year of the date of the drawing on which the prize was won.

Unclaimed lottery prizes become part of the net profit that the lottery returns to the state for distribution to cities and towns.

Mega Millions Winner, Time Is Running Out

Time is running out for the winner to claim the prize of $1.5 billion in theMega Millions lottery.

The lottery winner was announced on Oct. 23, 2018. It was sold at a convenience store in Simpsonville, South Carolina.

The clock started that day and has only 64 remaining days South Carolina Lottery spokeswoman Holli Armstrong told The Associated Press (AP).

State officials on Feb. 14 removed the estimated $61 million in taxes they expected to get from the lottery winner from estimates.

Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office Executive Director Frank Rainwater said it was safer to prepare now for not getting the money versus expecting the winner will eventually come forward.

“It was reasonable to assume that in November,” Rainwater said. “But two-thirds or three-quarters of the way through … they have not come forward.”

It’s rare for such a large prize, the second-largest in lottery history, to go unclaimed. The last large Mega Millions prize to go unclaimed was a $63 million jackpot in New York.

In addition to the state, the store that sold the ticket, KC Mart, would also miss out. If the prize is claimed the store gets 1 percent of the value of the winnings, as it does whenever a ticket it sells wins over $10,000, reported WOLO. In this case, that would be some $50,000.

If the ticket isn’t claimed, the 44 states that participate in the lottery will each get the money they sold in tickets for the prize back. In South Carolina, that would be $11 million, reported the AP. By law, that money would be spent on education.

Mega Millions Ticket 1
Jee Patel checks out a customer at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, S.C., on Feb. 19, 2019. The store sold the only Mega Millions ticket to win the $1.5 billion jackpot in October 2018. The ticket has not been claimed. (Jeffrey Collins/AP)

Speculation about why the winner hasn’t cashed in yet includes the ticket being lost, the winner not realizing they won, and other theories.

“I could understand there might have been tax advantages to wait until 2019,” David Stevenson, a CPA in South Carolina, told USA Today. “But I see no purpose in waiting now. Honestly, I think it’s lost.”

If the ticket isn’t claimed, the 44 states that participate in the lottery will each get the money they sold in tickets for the prize back. In South Carolina, that would be $11 million, reported the AP. By law, that money would be spent on education.

Speculation about why the winner hasn’t cashed in yet includes the ticket being lost, the winner not realizing they won, and other theories.

“I could understand there might have been tax advantages to wait until 2019,” David Stevenson, a CPA in South Carolina, told USA Today. “But I see no purpose in waiting now. Honestly, I think it’s lost.”

Powerball and Mega Millions lottery tickets are displayed on January 3, 2018 in San Anselmo, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Even if the winner does come forward, South Carolina is one of several states where winners can choose to remain anonymous. In that case, the state would still announce that the prize had been claimed.

Stevenson said no one has come to him for advice based on winning the prize.

“I keep waiting for them to walk into my door and ask me to do their taxes,” Stevenson said. “Of course, the cost of preparing their return might go up a bit from $200, but I would be nice about it.”

Jackpot Came in Under Record

The lottery ended up at $1.537 billion, just under the record high of $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot won in January 2016, lottery officials said.

Most lottery winners take a lump-sum payment instead of waiting for payments over time. If the South Carolina winner does that, they’d get about $877.8 million.

“The final total was less than the $1.6 billion estimate,” Carol Gentry, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Lottery, which leads a consortium of state lotteries participating in the Mega Millions jackpot, told the AP.

“Estimates are based on historical patterns. The jackpot’s been rolling since it was hit in July in California, but there are few precedents for a jackpot of this size. Typically about 70 percent of sales occur on the drawing day, so forecasting precise numbers in advance can be difficult. That’s why we always use the term estimate.”

The prize grew so large because it had been nearly three months before anyone matched all six numbers, which is necessary to win the top prize. Before the winning numbers were announced in October, the last time was on July 24, when 11 co-workers from California won a $543 million prize.

NTD reporter Zachery Stieber contributed to this report.

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